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SU PSC 124 - Social Theories

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PSC 124 1st Edition Lecture 6 Outline of Last Lecture I. Alliances and alignmentsII. Statecraft, strategy, and rationalityIII. Game theory and the Prisoner’s Dilemma Outline of Current Lecture I. Overview of theoriesII. The waning of warIII. Liberalism IV. Comparison of liberalism and realismV. Social theoriesCurrent LectureI. Overview of theories- the “lenses” we look through allow us to explain phenomena- state centered theories: idealism, realism, liberalism- social theories: constructivism, Marxism, postmodernism, feminism, peace studiesII. The waning of war- the world has become a much less violent and warlike in recent years- the Human Security Centre: sharp net decline in the incidence of terrorist violence, conflicts in Africa, armed conflicts, combat deaths, military coups, and violence against civiliansIII. Liberalism- liberal theories explain how peace and cooperation are possible- Immanuel Kant: how peace and cooperation are possible1. reciprocity: states could develop the organization’s and rules to facilitate cooperation, specifically by forming a world confederation resembling today’s UN(liberal institutionalism)2. identity: peace depends on the internal character of governments; republics will be more peaceful than autocracies3. economic interdependence: trade promotes peace; trade increases wealth, cooperation and global well-being and makes conflict less likely because governments don’t want to disrupt any process that adds to their wealth- sensitivity: one state relies on another to provide an important good but can find alternative suppliersThese notes represent a detailed interpretation of the professor’s lecture. GradeBuddy is best used as a supplement to your own notes, not as a substitute.- vulnerability: there are few or no alternative suppliers- elements that support liberal theory: liberal institutionalism, international regimes, collective security, democratic peace- liberal institutionalism1. rational actors can forgo short-term individual interests for long term well-being of a community2. international cooperation is more rational that focusing on power building3. international cooperation is most efficiently accomplished via reciprocity exercised through international organizations- international regimes: how does international community deal with conflicts and collective goods problems?1. regimes: set of rules, norms, procedures, common expectations, guide for action (not to be confused with military regime) 2. regimes often strongly influenced by, if not overtly created by, hegemons3. regimes tend to remain when hegemons fade from power- collective security 1. the formation of a broad alliance of most major actors in an international system for the purpose of jointly opposing aggression by any actor2. grows out of liberal institutionalism3. liberalist position and possible violent conflict4. success depends on two points: first, the members must keep their alliance commitments to the group (member must not free ride on the efforts of other members). Second, enough members must agree on what constitutes aggression- the democratic peace1. theory that democracy would be more peaceful; democracies almost never fight each other2. mitigates against authoritarianism, aggression, and the use of militarism3. based on principles of reciprocity and identity- democratization1. states transitioning into democracy are prone to war2. often comes as authoritarian regime folds3. conflict over power- mobilization of identityIV. Comparison of liberalism and realism- realism: explaining waning of war1. international arena is anarchical; each state will pursue its own interest2. war results from attempts to gain power; building and keeping a strong military iskey to power 3. when there is a hegemon, war is prevented through superior power- liberalism: explaining waning of war1. the international arena is significantly characterized by reciprocity2. slow changes in the rules of IR3. there has been a gradual buildup of international organizations, international regimes4. changes in norms and impact of global public opinionV. Social theories- theories that focus on social interaction to explain the “preferences” of individuals and states - constructivism: asks how states construct their interest through their interactions with one another1. interested in how actors define their national interests, threats to those national interests, and their interests’ relationships to one another2. state behavior driven by rules, norms, culture, institutions, interactions over time, and identities- constructivism vs. realism1. realism: interests are rationally determined2. constructivism: interests are determined in part by social processes3. constructivism explains relationships in terms of personal notions i.e. “trust”, “reputation”- constructivism and appropriateness1. based on norms, beliefs about what is right and what is wrong behavior2. nations sometimes behave not to fulfill interests, but to be consistent with norms3. sense of right and wrong can come from identity or shifting human norms- Marxism 1. politics are structured by unequal relations between economic classes2. more powerful classes exploit less powerful; less powerful are denied their share of surplus that is created (one way to look at North- South gap)3. according to Marx, leads to class struggle and revolution (turned out to be wrong)4. globalization of class relations: industrialized states exploiting developing countries is common


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